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Muscle Performance in Fibromyalgia Patients Tested

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Your muscles ache with a pain that never seems to end – what’s worse, they’re so fatigued that even the simplest tasks loom before you larger than life. But is there really a relationship between muscle strength and pain and fibromyalgia (FM)?

Many studies have been conducted on this level – one such study examines muscle performance, endurance, aerobic performance and isokinetic strength and how they relate to muscle performance, pain severity, physical activity level, and clinical findings in FM patients. These results were then compared to those of a healthy control group.

Data on 24 FM patients and 15 healthy control group subjects was gathered – symptoms, location and onset of pain, treatment, and associated symptoms. Patient’s isokinetic muscle strength and aerobic performance were tested. Muscle strength in FM patients was significantly lower than that of the control group; however, muscle endurance levels were not measurably different between the two groups. Where the control group excelled over the FM patients was in aerobic performance. Interestingly, there was no relation between decreased muscle performance and the FM patient’s pain severity, number of tender points, or duration of their symptoms.


Borman P, Celiker R, Hascelik Z

Hacettepe University Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Ankara, Turkey

The objective of the study was to examine the muscle performance, isokinetic muscle strength, muscle endurance ratio, and submaximal aerobic performance in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) patients, to evaluate the relation between muscle performance, pain severity, clinical findings, and physical activity level, and to compare the results with healthy control subjects. Twenty-four FMS patients and 15 control subjects participated in this study. Data were obtained about the symptoms, location and onset of pain, treatment, and associated symptoms. Patients and controls underwent an examination of isokinetic muscle strength of right quadriceps on a Cybex dynamometer, and submaximal aerobic performance tests (PWC-170) were done for all subjects. Maximal voluntary muscle strength of the quadriceps was significantly lower in patients compared with the control group. Endurance ratios showing the work capacity were not statistically different between two groups. Submaximal aerobic performance scores were higher in the control group. There was not a relation between the decreased muscle performance and clinical findings, including pain severity, number of tender points, and duration of the symptoms of FMS patients. We found a reduced quadriceps muscle strength and submaximal aerobic performance in patients with FMS, indicating that patients have impaired muscle function.

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